Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Coriander Crusted Tilapia in Ginger Coconut Broth

Coriander Crusted Tilapia

It's hard to find fresh ocean fish here in Arkansas. The Fresh Market in Little Rock sells fresh, sushi grade tuna on a weekly basis, but all the seafood sold here in my local Kroger or Walmart is previously frozen and thawed prior to sale.

Tom went to Kroger a few days ago for some shrimp and came home laughing. The sign above the shrimp said "Fresh Gulf Shrimp (Previously Frozen). Seems like an oxymoron to me.

Anyway, shrimp, tilapia, tuna, swordfish, scallops, crab legs, etc., all come frozen and mostly available in one or two pound bags. The tilapia sold in bags goes one step further, sealing each fillet in its own separate plastic envelope before hand. Unfortunately, those are thin, almost tasteless, little fillets good for maybe a seafood chowder or soup and little else.

Imagine my excitement when I saw a package of nice and thick Tilapia fillets packaged in butcher trays. Yes, they were previously frozen, but they were large and substantial instead of the paper thin fillets in the bags.

I decided to use the fillets to make a dish that I ordered and thoroughly enjoyed at McEwan's on Monroe in Memphis about a year ago, Coriander Crusted Tuna with Ginger Coconut Broth. The chef wouldn't give me the recipe, so I made it on my own with a little trial and error. This time, instead of tuna steaks, I used the Tilapia. I served it over steamed brown rice, topped with a little steamed spinach, then topped with the fish and a nice big ladle of the coconut ginger broth. It was delicious.

Coriander Crusted Tilapia

Coriander Crusted Tilapia in Ginger Coconut Broth
by Terri Powers for Terri's Table

For the fish:
2 large Tilapia fillets, approximately 1/2-inch thick
2 tablespoons or more ground coriander
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

For the broth:
1 tablespoon roasted peanut oil
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
2 green onions, sliced thin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons finely chopped Thai basil (I only had Italian basil this time and it worked out fine)
1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1 can coconut milk
1 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons fish sauce
juice of one lime

Prepare the broth first.

In a medium saucepan, heat the roasted peanut oil. Add the grated ginger, green onions and coriander to the oil and sauté over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the basil and cilantro and sauté another minute.

Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and bring the broth to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes before preparing the fish.

To prepare the fish, salt and pepper one side of each fillet, then sprinkle liberally with about 1/2 of a tablespoon of ground coriander for each fillet. Turn the fillets over and repeat the process.

Heat the oil in a frying pan large enough to hold both fillets. Over medium high heat, cook the fish until a nice brown crust has formed on one side, about 2 minutes. Gently turn the fish over and cook until a crust has formed, about another 2 minutes. Do not overcook. Serve immediately.

To serve, put a large spoon of steamed white or brown rice in the bottom of a shallow bowl. Top the rice with a nice spoonful of seasoned steamed spinach. Place the a Tilapia fillet on top of the spinach and pour a nice big ladle of the Coconut Ginger Broth over all.

PRINT THE RECIPE: Coriander Crusted Tilapia in Ginger Coconut Broth

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